Wetsuit Buying Guide

Wetsuits work by catching a thin layer of water between your skin and the neoprene. Your body heats up this water and keeps you warm so it’s imperative that the wetsuit fits properly or cold water will flush the warm water out. Neoprene acts as insulation against the colder water so the thicker the neoprene the better the warmer the wetsuit.

The thickness of a wetsuit dictates the warmth level. A 3/2mm wetsuit has 3mm on the lower body and 2mm upper body where more flexibility is needed. UK water temperatures in the summer are approx. 18-19°c and this type of wetsuit will be warm enough for summer – although deemed a winter wet suit in the Mediterranean! But don’t forget, the sea actually takes a lot longer to warm up than the air so it needs a few months of hot sunny days to actually make a difference to the sea temperature.

Differences between the cheaper entry level wetsuits and more expensive one are usually the quality of the neoprene used. Cheaper neoprene wetsuits are less flexible and the more expensive the suit the stretcher it is!

Also most wetsuits have a lycra outer layer which on cheaper wetsuits is less durable and less soft to the touch

Key Features worth looking for in a wetsuit:

Smooth Skin Chest Panel: An extra-large area of uninterrupted neoprene that protects against wind chill

Paddle Free Seams: Key zones on the wetsuit are seam free to prevent irritation and will not restrict movement

Kneepads: Need extra hard wearing material particularly if still learning as this area can wear through first

Critically Taped Seams: Look for suits with areas likely to be torn through stress as these are re-enforced and prolong the life of the wetsuit

Glued & Blind Stitching: This means the stitching is half way through to the outside and glued on the inside. It means the water won’t get through the seams and will keep you warmer for longer.

Double Layered neck: If you are prone to neck rashes then it’s worth looking out for wetsuits with a double layer so they move independently preventing the chaffing and rashes 

 

Wetsuit Thickness Guide vs sea temperature

Topic: Wetsuits

Category: Little Surfers Blog

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